Here’s what is happening in and affecting South Africa today:
Coronavirus: Global coronavirus cases have climbed to 7.07 million, with the death toll rising to over 405,000. In South Africa, the country experienced another big leap in cases and deaths, rising to 52,991 and 1,162, respectively. Recoveries have also increased to 29,006, leaving a balance of 22,823 active cases in the country.
- Covid data: A swathe of new data published by the Western Cape government has revealed more information about the Covid-19 outbreak in South Africa – who it affects, and who is most at risk. The data reflects what has been generally known about the virus, but reveals things like the fact that those with diabetes and hypertension are far more likely to die from the virus than those with HIV or TB, and how the chances of death increase drastically with age. [TimesLive]
- Unfair: Cogta minister Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma says that the High Court ruling declaring lockdown level 3 and 4 restrictions invalid overreached, was unduly vague and did not provide her with a fair hearing. The department has filed for urgent leave to appeal the ruling, which the minister says went beyond the pleading of the case. Government wants the application to be heard on an urgent basis, saying that it believes another court will reach a different conclusion. [Business Day – paywall]
- Students return: Higher Education minister Blade Nzimande says the universities can decide for themselves which students can return to class under lockdown level 3 – as long as they stick to government’s restrictions on numbers, and prioritise the fields that have been gazetted by the department. This loosens up a recently gazetted directive from the department that listed specific degrees that could return – most of which were from final year and post graduate students. [Mail & Guardian]
- Health clubs: Government has not declared any re-opening of health clubs in South Africa, but groups like Virgin Active and Planet Fitness are already preparing strategies to welcome members back while adhering to hygiene and social distancing protocols. Measures include slot bookings, limiting interactions, increased sanitisation of equipment and reduction of class sizes. Gym members have not been charged their monthly gym fees during lockdown. [MyBroadband]
- Markets: South Africa’s rand ended the local session largely unchanged on Tuesday, pausing its rally as traders took profits after a strong advance by emerging currencies spurred by global economic recovery hopes. Investors are looking ahead to Wednesday’s US Fed announcement following the two-day meeting. On Wednesday, the rand was at R16.60 to the dollar, R21.16 to the pound and R18.84 to the euro. Commentary by Reuters. [XE]